I don’t want to go to Milan!

The UAE Pavilion simulates being in the desert with a demountable structure and showing an audiovisual of the country.

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Hi, I had decided two years earlier, that I would not go to the Milan expo and that I would not enter in one of its pavilions for discuss, do business or personal matters. I does not think that the Expo is outdated, as I have heard (and readed) in some locations by some persons malicious. The History teaches us that any cultural and commercial exchange enriches the parties. Jaeger-LeCoultre count us, that in the first universal exhibition (1851) the Queen Victoria acquired a pendant watch with LeCoultre caliber, thus initiating a great was to this brand.

The reasons because I did not want to go to the Universal Exposition in Milan are very simple, first: I must not distract me from the mission that I have entrusted and which I am delivered in body and soul (of course), as you know, the discover materials and building systems to build a complex and perfect building on an island. The second is that I have a large social spectrum with who I interact worldwide gathered in one place… could not fulfill with all! The third, simpler still, is that I was about to visit an island in the Pacific (Vanua Levu) that appears to have the conditions to accomplish my task. But a call changed my plans.

 

The call was joint, on one side of the line my friends of the UAE (United Arab Emirates) and by the other my contacts of the F+P (Foster + Partners) the architecture of a named Norman Foster Studio, I have understood, one of the best in the world. Between the two managed that I consented (I resisted hard) in accompany at the opening of the Expo Milan 2015, more specifically on the UAE Pavilion, they gave me a compelling reason: “Dear Rodolfo: the island that you visit does not move, our Pavilion Yes”, with an argument so strong, I could not deny me.

The topic of the exhibition of Milan could not be more Universal: “Feeding the planet, energy for life”, the concern of the international community is clear, not in vain, there are 805 million people worldwide who do not have enough food to live (according to the WFP); but the most striking, in my opinion, is that there are 600 million people with obesity (according to OMS).

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Detected the problem, the positive side is that we are closer to the solution, this is, in part, the idea for the event, to promote a debate worldwide about food and sustainability, with 145 the countries participating (represent 94% of the world’s population), international organizations, civil society organizations and, of course, companies. All of them can teach from May 1 until October 31 their advances, promote exhibitions, competitions, dialogues, teaching traditions, discoveries, etc. The forecasts predict that by the different pavilions, will enter between 20 and 25 million people (You will see in November). The entrance costs 39 euros per adult, although there are discounts for groups.

‘Our’ UAE Pavilion occupies an area of 4,386 square meters, has 1,175 square meters exhibition area, the height of the building is 17 meters with 2-3 plants depending on the area. It has a capacity of 785 people per hour, which, to an average of 5 visits per day for six months, we can deduce that it is expected that at least 700,000 people in the Pavilion.

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If you decide to go, you will enter by a way with wavy walls, 12 meters high, the way will accompany to an auditorium and from there to the rest of spaces. These walls recreate the desert landscapes of cities that make up the Emirates and the need to seek the shade to protect yourself from extreme temperatures; the designers had the utmost concern to recreate as faithfully as possible the thermal conditions of the place, without inconvenience for the visitors. The walls run through 140 meters of plot, represent the ridges and the texture of the sand dunes. This simulation is possible thanks to a very special material: the GRC (glass fiber reinforced concrete).

The auditorium has a cylindrical shape and is in the centre of the plot, has a capacity for 150 people and shows a short film where the life of a Palm is related to the history of a family and the development of the UAE, with a style rap and an emirati girl, Sarah, who will accompany you until the end of the course and she teaching you how the lessons of past generations you will help to create a sustainable future (look and believe).

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After the projections, the visitors follow a path through the large interactive screens with digital lectures that include a special exhibition that celebrates that Dubai will host the Expo 2020. At the end of the exhibition, the visitors reach a green oasis. The landscape to its around and the public areas is designed as a whole to evoke the land and the flora of the UAE. When finalize the Milan Expo, the building will be dismantled and transferred to Masdar City, on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, where they will be rebuilt.

Panels of GRC

The GRC (Glass Fibre Reinforced Cement) is a reinforced concrete with fiber glass in all its mass, this gives qualities to the pieces that to human beings would like: high resistance to bending, tensile and impact, atmospheric agents and an extreme lightness (between 30 and 80 kilograms per square meter). The glass fiber content is between 4 and 5% of its total weight and gives it versatility, incombustibility and impermeability. Eye, this material does not exercise structural functions, are used as cladding and decoration.

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The GRC is made by molding, so it can have any form and with any texture (sands of the desert, for example). They are also manufactured in white and grey, with the addition of certain pigments, can have a long variety of colors.

The GRC are marketed in three different shapes: covering an area of 6 m2 with 1 centimeter of thickness, these pieces such as maximum serve as decorative elements and have little weight (from 30 to 45 kg/m2). As panels with polystyrene foam core or other material, and facades of GRC of one centimeter in thickness, ideal for the thermal insulation. And, the most useful, as the panel Stud-frame, which are panels of the same material subject to a structure steel (stud-frame) that you can  placed insulation inside, and  various facilities, its weight is between 45 and 60 kg/m2.

After my visit to the Pavilion, I confess that I am closer to the desert and the GRC from what never had felt me, well, also of the luqaimat that I tasted there. Bye bye.

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